Saturday, 14 March 2020

CORONAVIRUS: JUDGMENT FROM GOD?


Is the Covid-19 pandemic a sign of God’s judgment?

                                                             


Some teachers say that Covid-19 is a judgment from God. I am not so sure about that. And I am not going to spend time debating with them on such a controversial issue.
However, I would like to humbly share my viewpoint on the significance of this viral outbreak, which in March 2020 has turned into a pandemic (as declared by WHO).

In Hebrews 12: 25-29, we read that there will come a time when there is a great SHAKING of the heavens and earth: 

“See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

This is a warning to Jewish believers then (and to all believers today) not to turn their backs on God (apostasy) or willfully live in sin. If not, God will not spare them but judge them. 

The present shaking (read Covid-19) represents a warning of God’s impending judgment as God is a consuming fire and will not leave apostasy or sin unpunished (Hebrews 12:29). 

Because sinful man’s heart is constantly hardened towards God, the writer of Hebrews repeatedly warns (Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:26-27, Hebrew 10:39) about the danger of apostasy and sin, culminating in Hebrews 12:29, which portrays God as a consuming fire. He is the ultimate Judge. His attribute of justice requires that sin cannot be left unpunished.

As a parallel to this end-time shaking alluded to in Hebrews 12, Jesus shares in the Olivet Discourse that there will be global upheaval or turmoil:

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
(Luke 21:10-11)

All these calamities are part of the end-time “birth pangs”, the beginning of sorrows. The worst is yet to come … the Great Tribulation.

So Covid-19 is a warning of impending judgment, not judgment itself. Similarly, the plague of locusts descending into East Africa, destroying crops and causing famine is another warning of impending judgment, like Covid-19. 

Both the Covid-19 pandemic and locust plague are pestilences as mentioned by Christ. While the virus indirectly causes great financial loss and probably famine for some, the locusts cause famine directly. 

It is as if God is shaking the heavens and earth and saying, “Wake up, sinful world! Jesus is coming again, repent, be vigilant get ready, otherwise you will face judgment.”


“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
(Luke 21:34-36)

When something is important, it will be repeated all over the Bible. So, apart from the above warnings in Hebrews 12 and Luke 21, Jesus also warns in Matthew 24 and Matthew 25:


1.    Parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants (Matthew 24:45-51)

2.    Parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)

3.    Parable of the talents  (Matthew 25:14-30)

4.    Separation of sheep from goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

For our own spiritual welfare, I suggest we study these passages carefully and put them into practice. The last one, separation of sheep from goats, is not a parable but an allegorical picture of future judgment when Christ returns. 

Notice that Christ repeatedly warns that there will be a separation of good and evil. He used farming and fishing metaphors, which were familiar to the listeners in that era, to get His point across:
In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43), the tares will be gathered and burnt whereas the wheat will be preserved.
In the Parable of Dragnet (Matthew 13:47-52), the kingdom of heaven is like a net full of fish. When the net is full, men will select the good fish and discard the bad ones.

Another reason why I believe that CovId-19 is not God’s judgment is this: In the Old Testament there is a direct ‘cause and effect’ relationship between refusal to repent and judgment. For example, God sent the prophet Jonah to Nineveh to preach a message of repentance; if the inhabitants of the city fail to repent, they will be judged. I do not see a similar ‘cause and effect’ relationship in the current viral outbreak. 

When Job was afflicted with disease, his friends attributed it to hidden sin in his life. But this was subsequently disproved. God vindicated Job in the eyes of his friends by showing them they were wrong (Job 42:7) and blessing Job manifold (Job 42:10). 

People can be so simplistic like Job’s friends, not knowing that God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Evil people may prosper and enjoy good health whereas the righteous can be stricken by poverty or disease …and even die prematurely (Psalm 73:11-14). There is no definite correlation between holiness and temporal blessings though the latter often follow those who are faithful. The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life (Proverbs 22:4).

Thus, we cannot glibly say, “You are sinful and that’s why you are stricken with Covid-19.”

Covid-19, just like other diseases, is a consequence of the Fall. It can be traced back to the original sin of Adam and Eve … when the Garden of Eden turned from a paradise into a curse and, subsequently, everything in this world turned topsy-turvy.

This global viral pandemic is part of the end-time cluster of earth-shaking calamities and characteristics which include pestilences, famines, earthquakes, wars, rumours of wars, persecution, false prophets, deception, moral decadence, apostasy and man’s love of self, pleasure and money. All this SHAKING is meant to wake us up spiritually.



To recap, Covid-19 is a warning of impending judgment, not judgment itself. It is as if God is shaking the heavens and earth and saying, “Wake up, sinful world! Jesus is coming again, repent, be vigilant get ready, otherwise you will face judgment.”

POSTSCRIPT

CORONAVIRUS: SIGN OF IMPENDING JUDGMENT, NOT JUDGMENT ITSELF

Is the coronavirus pandemic a manifestation of God’s wrath? No, we are still living in a period of grace when people still have the chance to repent and turn to God for forgiveness of sins (2 Peter 3:9). This viral outbreak is one sign among many other signs of impending judgment  (earthquakes, wars, famines and great spiritual and moral decline). God is indeed shaking the planet to warn us that He is coming back to judge the earth.

God’s judgment on the world at large comes when Jesus returns. The unveiling of God’s wrath is symbolically portrayed by the seven trumpets (Revelation 8) and seven bowls or vials (Revelation 16). The trumpets blast out God’s wrath. The bowls are receptacles out of which God’s wrath is poured out.


Remember, we are still living in a period of grace though there is great shaking on earth and in the heavens: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”(2 Peter 3:9).


RELATED POSTS

WATCHFUL AND READY
An end time reflection on being prepared for Christ’s return
What will earth be like when Christ returns? Why did Jesus mention Noah and Lot when referring to the end times? Notice that not many were saved in the days of Noah and Lot. Only eight persons got saved in Noah’s ark and only three escaped the destruction of Sodom. The majority perished because they lived as if God did not exist or willfully lived in sin.

COMPLACENCY VS WATCHFULNESS
Knowing God’s ability to keep us safe for eternity is not enough.
We need to emphasise personal responsibility as well.

LOSS OF REWARDS VS LOSS OF SALVATION
Some believers may lose their eternal rewards BUT eventually they are saved. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, did the foolish virgins merely lose their rewards or much more?

IS THE WAY TO HEAVEN EASY?
Two different views—easy and difficult ways to heaven
http://bit.ly/1UH6Vf4


HOW TO SHARE THIS POST

CORONAVIRUS: JUDGMENT FROM GOD?

Is the Covid-19 pandemic a sign of God’s judgment?

1 comment:

  1. Is the Covid-19 pandemic a sign of God’s judgment? No.
    If the virus pandemic is a sign of God’s judgment, it will strike much greater fear and terror in man, just as what will happen when Christ returns: And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16).

    ReplyDelete